Monday, August 3, 2009

Defcon 17 – Viva Las Vegas

The geek squad headed over to DEFCON (hacker convention) in Las Vegas last weekend. World class hackers showed their work off by talking about privacy laws, compromises of major internet sites and how to protect yourself when traveling (dealing with red-light capture technologies, RFID's, and the No-Fly List). Needless to say, I was amazed and paranoid after a couple of the talks, but definitely better off knowing that government sites are probably sending out my social security number along with  a video of me driving and my complete history of calls, travel and even things I didn't know about myself! Also a note the ratio of men to women there was most likely 6500 : 10 so I had all the hot, bald geeky action I could ever want! jk

I really loved the talks by the two guys who had TV shows. The guy from Myth Busters - Adam Savage and Kingpin who had a show called Prototype This talked about their experiences in the TV industry. Kingpin and Zoz talked about their genius projects on their show with a small budget and about 2 weeks to come up with electrical/mechanical/software engineering inventions that could change the world every month. My favorite talk was from the girl who spoke about The Death of Anonymous Travel though. That was the talk that opened up my eyes to the lack of privacy we live in today and the restricts and abuses of information the government and third parties could hold against you (No Fly List is over a million and has people flagged that have moved in the last year? Or people with bad credit histories? What about the terrorists instead of grandmas and children?).

Anyway, we stayed in Mandalay Bay with 6 pools, beautiful architecture, and the Jonas Brothers! We sweated to the 110 degree heat, and didn't gamble or drink because we were so exhausted. The newsworthy event of the whole conference had to be the only thing that we were completely unaware of and managed to get a picture with (below). Basically some hackers made a fake ATM machine, put a card reader to skim people's credit cards (steal their information) and put it right outside of the security office because that was the only place without cameras! Amazingly their gag was found by a security officer shining his light into the "camera" hole that usually films people as they make their transaction and instead it was a computer!

[caption id="attachment_47" align="alignleft" width="292" caption="Us and the ATM machine at DEFcon"]Us and the ATM machine at DEFcon[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="292" caption="Big Money- click here for rest of photos.."]Big Money[/caption]